Friday, 2 August 2013

a mingling of flavour

When you treat your body well, then everything feels great. Ok, so there are still a few things that suck [might have underestimated on the 'few']. One being, that I've continued to eye up the Adidas by Stella McCartney collection in the window on Fulham Road, and unfortunately I'm still performing a debit account countdown in my head. [When will this end? I'm almost 30!]. But, when considering one's own finely tuned machine, there will be something to feel great about. Your mind and emotions will be cruising on more of an even keel, every cell coming alive and buzzing along to the hum drum beat of your physical prowess. Tempted yet?

What I was tempted by recently, was a bag of Aero bubbles. Strange, seeing as I'm usually more of a 75% cocoa content kinda girl. Even more extraordinary seeing as I was trying to hold it together in the unexplainable July heatwave. Chocolate should have been the last thing on my mind. But there they were, winking at me. Since when did Aero get all over the flavour pairing? Chefs have been doing it for centuries, but it seems to have become a little more daring of late.

Loving to explore different flavours myself, but on more of a holiday countdown [including 'Hell Week' at Barry's Bootcamp] sort of mood, I decided to save those chocolates for a rainy day, and created a healthier stylish flavour combo myself!

It's been hot, so I settled on something fresh, vibrant and full of colour.

Vegetable and fruit. Fruit and vegetable. Do they go together? Yes!

Beetroot and pear salad

Raw beetroot is such a joy. Nothing like the soft pre-cooked balls you pick up in the supermarket. It's deeply earthy, sweet and best of all, crunchy. The crunchier a salad, the better for me. It makes such a huge difference, and hits those senses at every angle. The pear, less acidic than an apple, but sweet, aromatic and has a little more grittiness and character.

The sweet nature of this salad calls for a sharpness to cut through it, and the pear makes a great partner for ingredients with a tannic edge, such as red wine vinegar. Throw in some bitter-sweet jeweled pomegranate seeds that'll burst in your mouth, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and some toasted pumpkin seeds for a nuttiness, and you've got yourself a little party in your mouth! Feel free to use mint, but more delicate herbs, like the feathery subtlety of dill or even fennel to heighten and freshen are better, as the mint runs the risk of taking over everything. Mint is very competitive!

Serving alone? Goes really well with salty cubes of feta cheese to complement the sweetness of the salad.
Serving with? The salad is very moreish and will go with anything like fish cakes, fish, grilled meats etc.

It also keeps very well in the fridge, keeping it's colour and it's crunch.

The breakdown: serves 4

4 good-size beetroots, scrubbed, peeled, cut into fine strips (mandoline makes this easy)
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, cut into fine strips
Juice of one lemon
10 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Drizzle of red wine vinegar (taste and test how much/little you want)
1 large handful of toasted pumpkin seeds
Sea salt and fresh black pepper to season
2 tbsp dill, roughly chopped - feel free to use fennel or mint